Bowmanville, Ont. — Nick Wittmer, Elivan Goulart and Henry Morse won on Friday afternoon at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in the TC, TCA and TCB classes respectively, in Touring Car’s Round 3 at the Pirelli World Challenge Grand Prix of Canada presented by Audi. The 40-minute race was held under clear, 70-degree weather conditions.
At the drop of the green, TC pole sitter Adam Poland, in the No. 33 Doghouse Performance Edge Addicts Mazda MX-5, led a huge field of cars into turn one, but it was Montreal’s Wittmer, in the No. 91 Honda Ste-Rose Racing Honda Accord V-6 Coupe, making the move from his fourth starting position with a decisive outside on Dennis Hanratty, in the No. 4 KRUGSPEED Racing Beta Tools/OG Racing/Winmax Brakes Lotus Exige to take over second place.
Through the first lap, Hanratty tried to battle back attempting to pass Wittmer for second while TC points leader coming into the weekend Toby Grahovec, in the No. 26 BMW M235iR for Classic BMW Motorsports, slotted in fourth place in class after starting third.
TCA pole sitter Goulart, in the No. 70 S.A.C. Racing/SCDA1.com Mazda MX-5 Cup, launched into the lead with Matthew Fassnacht, in the No. 74 S.A.C. Racing/Equity Residences Mazda MX-5 slotting into second, and Joey Bickers, in the No. 49 Atlanta Motorsports Group Mazda MX-5 into third.
TCB pole sitter Will Rodgers, in the No. 65 Solvang Brewing Co./Kelly Benefit Mazda2 held the lead at the start, with Tom O’Gorman in the No. 94 TNIA/Black Armor Helmets Honda Fit in second, and rookie Morse, in the No. 14 Hale Motorsports Morse GPS powered by CalAmp/MazdaSpeed/FreeM USA/Corksport Performance/Rolling Hills Prep/Hale Motorsports/Bell/Leatt Prep Mazda 2 following closely in third.
In TCA, Gary Kwok, in the No. 6 M&S Racing M&S Produce Honda Civic Si, was on the move, up to sixth in class from last, but the action would stop temporarily as a full-course caution flew after contact on the exit of turn 5 between Bickers and Dinah Weisberg, in the No. 50 BERG Racing REDCOM Laboratories/Red Line Oil/Power Brake Mazda MX-5. Kris Wright, in the No. 35 Wright Automotive Group Kia Forte Koup, Kwok and Eric Powell, in the No. 23 Tech Sport Racing Mazda MX-5 Cup came together trying to avoid Bickers and Weisberg.
As the safety car picked up the field while cleanup occurred in turn 5, Poland led over Wittmer, Hanratty and Grahovec in TC, while in TCA, Goulart led Fassnacht and Bickers, with Gormley, Ontario’s Samantha Tan, in the No. 38 Samantha Tan Racing GPI Global Honda Civic Si, following in fourth and Kevin Anderson, in the No. 22 Tech Sport Racing Mazda MX-5 Cup, in fifth. Of note, Anderson earned the Optima Batteries Best Start Award making up 11 positions on the opening lap. Anderson would also win the VP Fuels Hard Charger finishing 15th overall on the day after starting 36th.
In TCB, at the time of the caution, Rodgers led O’Gorman and Morse. Completing the top five were Patrick Wilmot, in the No. 18 The Precision Motorsports Group MyBamaHome.com/ Track 9 Media MINI Cooper, and Ted Hough, in the No. 69 Breathless Racing Mazda 2.
With the green flag back out on lap 9, Wittmer pounced in TC, this time going to the inside through turn one and taking the lead from Poland. Poland fought back, challenging Wittmer later in the lap, but fell victim to Hanratty’s Lotus, who passed Poland down the Mario Andretti Straightaway backstretch. Grahovec followed, taking third away from Poland in a frantic restart lap. Poland responded, taking third back while Wittmer tried to pull a gap in the lead.
In TCA, Goulart launched cleanly into the lead on the restart with Fassnacht and Bickers following. In TCB, Rodgers continued to lead O’Gorman and Morse as the TCA and TCB held their positions.
The action was in TC for the moment, where the shuffling continued for second, as Poland was able to continue his recovery charge, taking second place back from Hanratty, and then went to track down Wittmer for the race lead with 16 minutes to go.
Poland caught Wittmer, but lost control coming out of turn one, and spun with the bumper of his MX-5 gently touching the inside wall. He was able to get back under power after the dramatic spin and recovery, rejoining the field but further back in the pack. Poland would finish in 10th on the day.
That left Wittmer alone to build his lead, while Grahovec was able to get around Hanratty for second late in the race, with Wittmer taking the TC win ahead of Grahovec’s BMW and the yellow Lotus piloted by Hanratty.
As the TCA race evolved, Goulart pulled a .963 lead on Bickers, while in TCB, O’Gorman closed on the bumper of Rodgers while Morse closed on O’Gorman, as the top three ran nose-to-tail. On the final lap, Bickers and Fassnacht would close on Goulart with the three crossing the line nose-to-tail.
The final two laps in TCB turned into a heated battle as the leaders traded positions through turns four and five on lap 17, with Rodgers commanding the race lead back as the cars pulled onto the long Mario Andretti Straightaway.
Morse continued to attack, going side-by-side with O’Gorman down the back stretch and then grabbing the lead in turn four on the second last lap of the race as the three TCB leaders continued to fend one another off.
With the white flag in the air, O’Gorman managed to get around Rodgers while Morse went around both to take the lead down the back stretch, taking the victory ahead of O’Gorman and Rodgers.
Finishing fourth in TC was Patrick Gallagher, driving the No. 54 Atlanta Motorsports Group Mazda MX-5, who passed Shea Racing teammates Jason Fichter, in the No.7 Shea Racing Honda Accord V-6 Coupe, and Shea Holbook, in the No. 67 Shea Racing BUBBABurger/LucasOil/KoniShockAbsorbers Honda Accord V-6 Coupe, after a multiple-lap three car battle for fourth.
While Gallagher came home fourth it was Holbrook in fifth with Fichter in sixth. The Motortrendondemand.com Clean Pass Award went to Gallagher for his move on Holbrook. He also won the Cadillac ATS-V Move of the Race for the same pass.
The TC win for Wittmer was the second of his career, with the first also coming in Ontario, on the Streets of Toronto in 2010. For the 15-year-old Morse, it’s his first career Pirelli World Challenge win in his third series start. Goulart scores his third career win and second in as many years at CTMP.
Wittmer also won the StopTech Brake Late Finish First Award.
“I have raced on a lot of Canadian tracks but I would consider Mosport or CTMP now as my home track,” said Wittmer. “I have been coming here since 1999 and have competed here up to five or six times a year. It’s all about starts and I got a good one today. If you aren’t awake at the green flag, it’s going to be three or four times harder to grab the lead. It was a perfect start for me. I couldn’t ask for a better start. Honestly, my car was the same since COTA. I finished second at COTA and put the car in the trailer. I have three race cars I work on for customers. I’m a mechanic, car builder and racer. Customers come first and my race car comes last. I was going to do a full suspension change before this weekend but I didn’t have the time. I thought if it’s not broke, don’t fix it. Let’s just go to Mosport like this and the car was awesome. Adam (Poland) and the Lotus (Hanratty) were so fast and they were right on me. I just had to drive hard and get the finish.”
“It’s great to be back at CTMP. Last year was my first Pirelli World Challenge race and I won here,” said Goulart. “My SAC team did a phenomenal job. It was fantastic race for us as it was all about managing the gap. I knew my challengers were coming and they were knocking on the door. I knew (Joey) Bickers and my teammate Matt (Fassnacht) were going to be right on my tail. So I had to watch their runs to maintain the gap to the checkered flag. This track is so legendary that it is one of the favorites of many of the drivers. It’s great to win here again.”
“With the TC-B Spec it is always about being smooth with the faster cars flying around you,” said Morse. “And cars coming up on you at an inconvenient time. I heard that faster cars were coming around me on the last lap. On the double apex turn five, I saw the two leaders come together and that little bit of contact would hurt their momentum. I knew that was my chance. I got a really good exit and I drafted them to take the lead just before the esses and the final turns. This is my first professional win and I am in total shocking right now.”
Results are provisional until posted final. With the fastest laps of the race Poland, Bickers and Rodgers will start on their respective class poles for Saturday’s Round 4 TC/TCA/TCB race scheduled for 8:30am Saturday morning. Watch the race live at motortrendondemand.com.
The Touring Car races from Canadian Tire Motorsport Park will air in expanded format on CBS Sports Network, Thursday June 2 at 7 p.m. Eastern.
Bowmanville, Ont. – Results from Friday, May 20, 2016 Pirelli World Challenge Championship TC/TCA/TCB Round 3 Round, part of the Canadian Grand Prix presented by Audi. Drivers listed by position, place in class, class, name, hometown, car, laps, status:
1. 1, TC, Nick Wittmer, Montreal Canada, Honda Accord V-6 Coupe, 22, Running
2. 2, TC, Toby Grahovec, Little Elm TX, BMW M235iR, 22, Running
3. 3, TC, Dennis Hanratty/Dennis Hanratty, Mechanicsburg PA, Lotus Exige, 22, Running
4. 4, TC, Patrick Gallagher, Thornville OH, Mazda MX-5, 22, Running
5. 5, TC, Shea Holbrook, Orlando FL, Honda Accord V-6 Coupe, 22, Running
6. 6, TC, Jason Fichter, Jupiter FL, Honda Accord V-6 Coupe, 22, Running
7. 7, TC, John A. Weisberg, , Mazda MX-5, 22, Running
8. 8, TC, Kevin Krauss, Fishers IN, Porsche Cayman, 22, Running
9. 9, TC, Brian Lift/Brian Lift, Crestwood IL, Porsche Cayman, 22, Running
10. 10, TC, Adam Poland, Ft. Worth TX, Mazda MX-5, 22, Running
11. 1, TCA, Elivan Goulart, Shelton CT, Mazda MX-5 Cup, 22, Running
12. 2, TCA, Joey Bickers, Moorpark CA, Mazda MX-5 Cup, 22, Running
13. 3, TCA, Matthew Fassnacht, Madison NJ, Mazda MX-5 Cup, 22, Running
14. 4, TCA, Jay Salinsky, Miami FL, Mazda MX-5 Cup, 21, Running
15. 5, TCA, Kevin Anderson, Huntington NY, Mazda MX-5 Cup, 21, Running
16. 11, TC, Gino Carini, Milwaukee WI, BMW, 21, Running
17. 6, TCA, Samantha Tan, Gormley Canada, Honda Civic SI, 20, Running
18. 1, TCB, Henry Morse, Redondo Beach CA, Mazda 2, 20, Running
19. 2, TCB, Tom O’Gorman, Mason OH, Honda Fit, 20, Running
20. 3, TCB, Will Rodgers, Murrieta CA, Mazda 2, 20, Running
21. 4, TCB, P.J. Groenke, Richmond Hill ON, Chevrolet Sonic, 20, Running
22. 5, TCB, Patrick Wilmot, Roswell GA, MINI Cooper, 20, Running
23. 6, TCB, Ted Hough, Farmington MN, Mazda 2, 20, Running
24. 7, TCB, Michael Johnson, Austin TX, Chevrolet Sonic, 20, Running
25. 8, TCB, Jasper Drengler, Shawano WI, Honda Fit, 20, Running
26. 9, TCB, James Wilson, Kyle TX, Mazda 2, 20, Running
27. 12, TC, Dinah Weisberg, Webster NY, Mazda MX-5, 19, Running
28. 13, TC, Anthony Geraci, Glen Head NY, Mazda MX-5, 16, Running
29. 14, TC, Daniel Moen, Rindge NH, Mazda MX-5, 11, Not Running
30. 15, TC, Randy Hale, Haddam CT, Mazda MX-5, 3, Not Running
31. 7, TCA, Gary Kwok/Gary Kwok, Markham ON, Honda Civic SI, 3, Not Running
32. 8, TCA, Eric Powell, Orlando FL, Mazda MX-5 Cup, 3, Not Running
33. 9, TCA, Forrest Landy/Forrest Landy, Great Falls VA, Mazda MX-5 Cup, 3, Not Running
34. 10, TCA, Kris Wright, Pittsburgh PA, Kia Forte Koup, 2, Not Running
35. 11, TCA, Alain Lauziere/Alain Lauziere, Vaudreuil-Dorion QC, MINI Cooper, 2, Not Running
36. 12, TCA, Jason Wolfe, Mt. Vernon OH, Kia Forte Koup, , DNS
37. 13, TCA, Jonathan Goring, Norfolk CT, Mazda MX-5 Cup, , DNS
38. 14, TCA, Daniel Williams/Daniel Williams, Scottsbluff NE, Mazda MX-5 Cup, , DNS
39. 16, TC, Steve Burns, San Antonio TX, Ford Mustang, , DNS
40. 15, TCA, Johan Schwartz, Huntersville NC, Honda Civic SI, , DNS
41. 16, TCA, Tom Noble/Tom Noble, , Honda Civic SI, , DNS
42. 17, TC, Tony Rivera, Vista CA, Nissan 370Z, , DNS